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Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Zen?

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Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Zen?

Postby zenci on Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:48 am

I am not discussing or arguing whether these states are important or meaningful. I am only asking if one can enter altered states of consciousness through just sitting, or zazen.
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:58 am

Almost any state of consciousness is altered. Each moment is new, and no real residue of the previous moment is retained, except as a memory, if at all.

At night, one sleeps. That's an altered state. Satiation after a satisfying meal is also an alteration of mind-body.

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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby Caodemarte on Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:59 am

One can enter almost any state of consciousness while doing almost anything. A counter question would be: If you are trying to produce a state of consciousness is it still zazen?
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby fukasetsu on Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:48 pm

zenci wrote:I am not discussing or arguing whether these states are important or meaningful. I am only asking if one can enter altered states of consciousness through just sitting, or zazen.


Don't need zazen, just look at an object to your left, and then the right, and notice the chance or alteration.
Consciousness is duality, but during meditation (not speaking of zazen perse) you can give up your current state of mind limited to your identity as an individual by simply letting it go, and this letting go is not an effort it happens spontaneously, that is after many years of effort regarding methods and expedients, so my answer would be a yes, relating to the states you're thinking of.
For most ppl any breeze in consciousness distracts their mind like a leaf in the wind, so in that way there isn't much "altered" to experience apart from what they already experienced in their daily lifes, just witness it and don't react and samadhis can be entered.
However when one meditates out of a wanting to experience anything from the viewpoint of an individual identity the results of sitting will be limited, the desire for the individual must dissolve before any of such experiences happen spontaneously.
So it's through complete silence instead of ideas of "I'm practising zazen or this or that" so the question regarding zazen from this viewpoint doesn't really apply.
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:57 pm

zenci,

My teacher Ch'an Master Sheng Yen recognized four very broad yet sharply defined categories of operation, or conditions, of "mind", of practitioners.

    o Scattered Mind
    o Simplified Mind
    o Unified Mind
    o No-Mind
First, scattered mind is the mind of a practitioner before beginning any sort of Ch'an practice, with many vexations and turbulence.
Then, once begun, practice begins to simplify the mind somewhat, as one keeps one's attention on one's method of practice.
The mind becomes unified after much experience and regular practice with one's method. Many people might come to believe that this "Unified Mind", or mind that seems to recognize everything as "One", is an awakened state, as recognized in Ch'an. But it is not. It is unified mind.
No-Mind dawns when Unified Mind breaks up, and one is left with one's original state, no-mind. This mind of no-mind is Buddha-Mind, or the mind of Ch'an. It is our original Human inheritance, which had just been covered-up and hidden, from beginningless time.

But, zenci, the modifications of mind as they are happening -- that is, the "altered states" you may be speaking of -- are given no attention during practice. Many of these states or conditions are illusions and distractions, and it is always best for the practitioner to keep to the method of practice, rather than to be de-railed by merely altered states.

When one is derailed by altered states, one might enter "outer paths", or even what some teachers call "demonic paths", where one develops a sickness of mind which is not helpful to one's life and one's practice, and does not save sentient beings, and does not conduce toward awakening. A teacher's guidance is definitely needed, here.

This is my experience with these stages of practice, and my experience of the various states that one distinctly transitions-through during a career of practice. It is also the way I have been trained, and the way I have learned.

Master Sheng Yen has several Dharma successors, who continue to teach and guide in this very clear way.

best,

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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby lobster on Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:59 am

zenci wrote:I am not discussing or arguing whether these states are important or meaningful. I am only asking if one can enter altered states of consciousness through just sitting, or zazen.


Yes.

It means you have gone temporarily 'wrongly'. Just so you know ... :achoo:

Why are you asking then? :heya:
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby zenci on Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:06 am

lobster wrote:
zenci wrote:I am not discussing or arguing whether these states are important or meaningful. I am only asking if one can enter altered states of consciousness through just sitting, or zazen.


Why are you asking then? :heya:


I find them interesting.

And thanks.
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby bokki on Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:18 pm

zenci,
i cant represent any doctrinal or definite answer
but
if i may say from my view of zen meditation
every state of mind
other than the basic empty zen mind
is an altered state.
now, even this may pose a prob,
if the basic mind has not been seen.
i answer here, bcs i have extensive experiential knowledge and a good few years of practice
in the deepest fields of hall
aya, dmt ,l s t fuck shooms and even worse things, much worse
and its a very poor trade
so poor
that 1 may b questionig 1s sanity, or praying 4 it 2 stop

so, as the zen teachings emphasize everyday mind,
even so as 2 question attachment 2 dhyana states,
it may b much better
2 just sit,
or take up a koan,
and most importantly
connect 2 a teacher


sry zenci, for the somewhat short answer
b
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burst into flames

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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:38 pm

zenci,

zenci wrote:I find them interesting.

Have you experienced them through either some sorts of meditation rooted in non-Buddhist schools, or through Zen Buddhist zazen, by the way?

Or are you referring to interesting altered-states as possible to experience through drugs, or through various near-sleep states, or from hard physical exercise? I'm just curious.

If you have a Zen Buddhist teacher, by chance, I wonder what the teacher advises about indulging in altered states, whether brought about by strong practice, or by other means? Please don't divulge any private discussions you may have had in dokusan (as per the usual and traditional mutual understanding and injunction against doing so), but I wonder if the teacher has expressed any general public teaching or advice about "altered states" and indulging in them (If not, it's always fair to "ask" ;) ).

Thanks!

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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby Avisitor on Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:35 am

Climbing a ladder can cause one to go to an altered state of consciousness
Getting chased by wasps is also another state of consciousness
Both of which I have experienced recently while trying to seal up their entrance into my house.
So, I have no doubt that one can enter altered states of consciousness through Zazen (Zen is not an activity)
Although what one looks for and what one finds may not always coincide
Be happy and mindful of your life
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:47 am

z.,

zenci wrote:I am only asking if one can enter altered states of consciousness through just sitting, or zazen.

I'd say yes. Yes, yes, yes.

The states to cultivate are the ones your teacher says are important. I think usually these will be the samadhis, the states of absorption called jhanas. You may have heard them referred to collectively as "trance", in some old writings, and even in translations from Hindu sources. There are some four, or eight jhanas. Some say there are ten.

In Zen Buddhist practice, little formal or pedagogical attention is given to these states (as distinct from in some Vipassana traditions, where entering and leaving these states is perfected). In Zen Buddhism, it's more important to awaken, than to perfect the samadhis. Awakening sometimes happens in this way that the late Robert Aitken Roshi describes:

In, The Mind of Clover -- Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics (1984), p. 146, the late Robert Aitken Roshi wrote:

    "Most people regard Zen practice as a process of purifying the human mind
    in order to reach a certain condition where a sense experience, such as seeing
    the morning star or hearing a stone strike a stalk of bamboo, will trigger realization.
    This process of purifying involves zazen and the rest of the Eightfold Path -- right
    thinking, right action, and so on. When you are ready, some little thing will happen,
    and then everything will be clear."
-- Robert Aitken Roshi (1917-2010)

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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:41 pm

But Guo Gu very importantly reminds us, in another thread here,

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=11958

that, "Awakening in Buddhism is the absence of altered states of consciousness, self-grasping, and hence vexations."

I would add that the state of Awakening is our original and full Human nature, the full compliment of our Human inheritances, with nothing added, nothing obscured, and ...nothing altered! It is the Buddhamind; and, Bodhi.

A state with anything added to or subtracted from Buddhamind or Bodhi is an altered state.

With thanks to Guo Gu for his clear statement of fact,

:rbow:

:Namaste:,

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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby Seeker242 on Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:55 pm

Yes, it can be altered from "ignorant" to "enlightened". :)
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:50 pm

S.,

Seeker242 wrote:Yes, it can be altered from "ignorant" to "enlightened". :)

Ha. I appreciate the humor. But taking it for a moment, for all reading, as if you meant it seriously, I'll say the following:

That's the most common misconception we run into everywhere. Thanks for bringing it up here, so it can be crushed.

The truth is the reverse of what you write.

Original Mind can be altered from Awake, to Ignorant.

(and it usually is. Hence the need for the Buddha, and for the sorts of correct practice that he and his successors, through eighty-six generations, now, teach).

The "it" that you write about is just your suspicion of what you think the mind IS. But that is not mind. "Your 'it' " is instead a composite of delusions, only. When the true Mind is covered up, you have delusions (what Guo Gu and Sheng Yen call "vexations").

Glad we could put this to rest together and put the truth into focus.

It would be good if teachers might comment on this, too. Tnx! It's not a controversial point, and ought to be already abundantly clear to those who have studied and practiced. It's basic Buddhadharma, that is.

best,

:Namaste:,

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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby Seeker242 on Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:28 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:S.,

Seeker242 wrote:Yes, it can be altered from "ignorant" to "enlightened". :)



Original Mind can be altered from Awake, to Ignorant.


What original mind? If you really want to get to the truth of the matter, put original mind to rest as well. :)
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:20 pm

S.,

Seeker242 wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:
Seeker242 wrote:Yes, it can be altered from "ignorant" to "enlightened". :)

Original Mind can be altered from Awake, to Ignorant.

What original mind? If you really want to get to the truth of the matter, put original mind to rest as well. :)

It's all that's left, or it is by then fully uncovered, when one awakens. That original mind. The only one there is. There is no other.

So it is.

It is the miraculous and wondrous mind of Buddha. The mind of the Sentient Being (as Ashvaghosha also asserts, in The Awakening of Faith). The mind of no mind.

"Rest"?: there's nothing but rest in Original Mind. No "putting". Hail!

rest,

:Namaste:

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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby Seeker242 on Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:55 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:S.,

original mind. The only one there is. There is no other.



There is no original mind that can be obscured by vexations to begin with, if you really want to get to the truth of the matter. However, none of that has anything to do with the OPs question to begin with. :)
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:09 pm

Seeker242 wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:original mind. The only one there is. There is no other.

There is no original mind that can be obscured by vexations to begin with, if you really want to get to the truth of the matter.

Let readers note that this is not the summary teaching of Zen Buddhism. "Seeker" may accept or reject what he/she may, but let this point not go unnoticed.

I think the OP has plenty of good replies by now, too, and I hope everybody is helped by some of them.

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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby Seeker242 on Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:39 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Let readers note that this is not the summary teaching of Zen Buddhism. "Seeker" may accept or reject what he/she may, but let this point not go unnoticed.



Actually yes it is, according to my teacher and others before him, for quite a long time actually!

Like Bodhidharma has said: "Indeed, no-mind is nothing other than true mind. And true mind is nothing other than no-mind"

With that being the case it's inappropriate to embrace only one and not the other! Why? Because they mean the same thing!

Likewise, if true mind can be clouded, then it can also be unclouded. To think it's only a one way street from aware to ignorant, that's antithetical to the entirety of the BuddhaDharma, since that unclouding is the only purpose of the Buddhadharma to begin with!
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Re: Can one enter altered states of consciousness through Ze

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:58 pm

S.,

Seeker242 wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:Let readers note that this is not the summary teaching of Zen Buddhism. "Seeker" may accept or reject what he/she may, but let this point not go unnoticed.

Actually yes it is, according to my teacher and others before him, for quite a long time actually!

Well, that's what makes horse-racing. May your animal Win, Place, or Show.

:Namaste:,

Strong practice,

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